Sydney: Australian captain Michael Clarke is expected to face England in their ICC Champions Trophy opener despite the skipper travelling to London for specialist treatment on his longstanding back problem.
The injury flared up again before the final Test of Australia`s 4-0 series loss in India two months ago, and Clarke has been unable to play a part in their Champions Trophy warm-up games, including Tuesday`s hammering by India.
A decision over Clarke`s availability for Saturday`s Edgbaston meeting with England will be taken in due course.
However, George Bailey, who led the side in Clarke`s absence on Tuesday, said that as Clarke was facing some stiffness in his back, the team did not see fit to risk him in warm-up games as a precautionary measure with such an important tournament coming up, adding that it is a case of managing Clarke almost on a day-to-day basis.
Bailey further said that he is hopeful that Clarke will play on Saturday, adding that it would be a huge blow if he is not available, as he is the captain and the best batsman of their side.
Meanwhile, team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris had said that Clarke was left out of the matchday side after he was unable to prove his fitness as he was still experiencing some lower back pain.
Without Clarke, Australia were bundled out for just 65 by India in the warm-up fixture- five runs fewer than their full one-day international record-low total of 70.